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Archive | Boulder Spotlight

Boulder Spotlight focuses on restaurants, chefs and happenings that are local to us here at Tundra.

Boulder Spotlight: The Kitchen Cafe’s Sustainable Restaurant Ethos

The Kitchen Cafe Uses Local FarmsThe Kitchen Café community bistro takes the community part of their name very seriously.  The Boulder, Colorado restaurant provides a simple, rustic setting where friends, families, and neighbors can gather to enjoy great tasting, unpretentious food and a world-class beer and wine list.  Meals can be ordered family style any day of the week and weekday “community hours” feature shared plates and drink deals.  Everything about this place invites you to enjoy the atmosphere of togetherness.

But The Kitchen’s commitment to community doesn’t end there.  The restaurant is 100% wind powered.  Almost 100% of leftover food and food scraps are either given to staff at the end of their shift, composted, or recycled.  And the menu evolves with the seasonal availability of mostly local herbs, greens, vegetables, and meat.

“Depending on the time of year, upwards of 70% of our ingredients are sourced locally,” says Adam Watts, a Kitchen chef.  “We change our menu to what’s available.”  These local ingredients are fresher, save hundreds of food miles, and compost created from the scraps ends up back on the farmer’s fields.  “The quality is absolutely better,” Adam says.  “When you have to wash off the dirt, you know it’s fresh.”

Sustainable practices and a community oriented atmosphere gives The Kitchen a lot of credibility when they call themselves a “community bistro.”  The great thing about The Kitchen, however, is just how serious they really are about their Boulder neighborhood.  They have partnered with local non-profit The Growe Foundation to help sponsor the Garden To Table initiative, which educates local kids about the cycle of food, from planting seeds to harvest to the final product on the dinner table.

Garden To Table takes a hands-on approach with 9 schools from the Boulder Valley School District.  Each school plants a garden, harvests vegetables and greens, and then, with the help of The Kitchen chefs, create salads and dishes to be eaten at school benefit functions.  To chef Adam Watts, it’s all about educating future generations about where food comes from.  “We want to create a new culture that understands garden-to-table ethics,” he says.

The Kitchen represents a new movement in food service, one that focuses on the benefits of not only serving good tasting food, but sustainable food as well.  To The Kitchen, it’s just another part of being a member of a community.

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Menu Trends: Native American Fry Bread

Native American Fry BreadIn tough times, people always rely on familiar, basic foods to get them through.  Trends in the restaurant industry so far in 2009 have borne out this truism.  For Native Americans, the equivalent of chicken soup and hamburgers is Indian fry bread, a staple in their diets for 150 years, dating back to the days when they had little else to eat as they were driven from their lands by settlers.

A local restaurant, though not in Boulder, is the subject of this Spotlight article because Native American cuisine is such a unique and relatively rare phenomenon.  Tocabe restaurant, located in Denver, has taken Indian fry bread and built an entire menu around this simple, but tasty traditional food.  There are fry bread soft tacos, pizzas with fry bread dough, and powdered fry bread for dessert.

What is Native fry bread?  The traditional blend included flour, salt, lard, and water cooked in oil.  Tocabe has updated the recipe and addressed health concerns by substituting canola oil for lard and flash frying rather than deep frying the bread.  The result is a lighter, sweet bread that has greatly reduced trans fats.

There has been some controversy within the Native American community over the celebration of fry bread.  After all, it was the only food American Indians had left after losing everything to the expanding American nation, and it was given to them by their oppressors to boot.  To young Natives like the owners of Tocabe restaurant, however, fry bread’s place in the history of their people is firmly entrenched, and whether it got there as a result of good or evil is beside the point.

To sample Tocabe fry bread, visit them at 44th and Lowell in Denver, CO.

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Boulder Has A New Top Chef

Boulder Chef Hosea Rosenberg Is THE Top Chef

Boulder Chef Hosea Rosenberg Is THE Top Chef

As some of you may know, Tundra and The Back Burner are based in Boulder, CO so we were especially pleased to learn that Boulder chef Hosea Rosenberg claimed first place on Wednesday’s finale of Top Chef: New York.

Rosenberg is the executive chef at Jax Fish House in Boulder.  He graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in engineering physics before pursuing his true dream in culinary arts.  Rosenberg has worked with top chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Kevin Taylor, and Sean Yontz.

The Top Chef win garnered Rosenberg a $100,000 prize, and he is currently working on a food line with Whole Foods and a new restaurant is in the works as well.

Another Boulder chef, Melissa Harrison, was also a contestant on the show but was eliminated earlier in the season.

We would like to congratulate Hosea on his win and we look forward to enjoying his work in the Boulder area for years to come!

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